Tuesday, 30 June 2009

The Railway Magazine

My short piece, with photographs, on women's views of the Eastleigh Centenary railway event back in May, has just been published in The Railway Magazine. It is out in shops now!

Sunday, 28 June 2009

Fame, at last!

My former writing tutor has just written about me, yet again! I have kidded Simon Whaley that I will have to start charging soon, as I seem to keep giving him things to blog about. To see what he has written about me now, click here. Thanks, Simon!

Friday, 26 June 2009

Two more books...

I am really pleased to announce that I have just signed contracts for two more history books for The History Press.

Haunted Southampton is a look at the ghosts and ghouls who have decided to stick around, rather than move on to the here-after. From the Roman soldiers who are regularly seen in one part of the city to the little dog at a local manor house, this book will make your spine tingle! It is due out in February 2011 and I am sure I will have a lot of fun researching it.

Winchester: History You Can See is a photographic look at the ancient Saxon capital of Wessex. So often we walk past historic places or items, not realising the significance of that which we are passing. This book, filled with over a hundred photographs, will take you to parts of the city you thought you knew and allow you to look at them with new eyes. This will be published in May 2011. I love photography and this will be a chance for me to get out with my camera and really get to know the city.

More on these two projects in future posts.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Penny's Photos....

I have realised that I do not blog about photography enough. I love taking photographs and so thought that today I would take you a little into my photographic world.

I was in Swanage a couple of weekends ago to cover the events there to celebrate Britain's armed forces. In a weekend dominated by parades by the Signals Regiment and Veterans from across the country, the Devizes male majorette troupe, the Devizes Major Wrecks, put on a charity show that had their audience in stitches of laughter. Indeed, I was laughing so much some of my photographs were distinctly blurred!

The Wrecks are volunteers with steel in their backbones, it takes grit for a gentleman to don white tights, pretty frilly knickers, a little ra-ra skirt and frilled blouse, not to mention the makeup! This troupe has raised over £100,000 for special needs children in Wiltshire with their choreographed majorette routines, involving large red pom poms and the provocative use of innocent looking scarves. For a peek at some of my photographs and for more information on the excellent work this group is doing, click here.

While I was in Swanage I also met a lovely group of bikers. Bikers are, I have sometimes thought, misunderstood by the general public who see, often, hairiness, leather and power before the person underneath. In Swanage I met the Royal British Legion Rider Branch for the first time. This new Legion branch, it was formed in 2005 as an ex-services motorcycling club, has managed to raise over £11,000 for the Poppy Appeal charity so far in 2009 and numbers 2000 members. Not bad, eh? I sent some of my shots to the Rider Branch for inclusion on their site and they have been kind enough to post them. To see some of my work click here. The site covers all aspects of the Rider Branch and will answer your questions about what it is about and how to join. Since Swanage the Riders have been at Weymouth Veteran Parade, where they made an impressive showing. My husband has joined up and he has just bought me a motorcycle jacket so I can come along too. I suppose this makes me a Biker Babe now...

Friday, 19 June 2009

Weymouth Veteran's Weekend

Weymouth beach took a bit of a beating on Saturday 13th June. The Royal Engineers first gave a demonstration of how the army would storm a beach and overcome the enemy, swarming from a landing craft amidst much smoke and noise.
They then proceeded to show their mastery of bridge building as, in just ten minutes and seventeen seconds, they built a bridge strong enough to take the weight of several vintage military
vehicles which had come to the town especially for the Veterans Celebrations over the weekend.

Sunday saw the Veterans Parade, which attracted much interest with both veteran's organisations, individual organisations and spectators travelling from all over England to attend.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

SWWJ Summer Festival

The Society of Woman Writers and Journalists (SWWJ) did itself proud on Thursday 4th June, when the Summer Festival was held amidst the luxurious setting of the Royal Over-Seas League, London.

The guest speaker was Peter Snow. This well known journalist and television broadcaster brightened up the day considerably, not just with his splendid multi-coloured tie but also with his tales of luck and perseverance during his long career.

Guests, who included Patrons Lady Healey and Sir Tim Rice, enjoyed a beautifully presented lunch. The results of the various Summer Festival Competitions were then announced.

The Clemence Dane/Pat Garrod Cup for novel writing was presented to Frances Clamp for Broken Dreams. The Elizabeth Longford Poetry Competition was won by Alison Chisholm for Snowflake Message. The Lady Violet Astor Rosebowl for an article published in 2008 was won by Sally Ann Voak for My Grandfather Died a Hero and the Irene Swarbrick Silver Salver was awarded to Margaret Mounsdon for her short story, Run For Your Life, which will be published in the June edition of The Woman Writer. I am pleased to mention that my article based on an interview, DJ Richie, which was published in Anguilla Life last year, was Highly Commended.

The SWWJ Drama Group entertained us with a series of short plays written by members and performed both by members and other professional actors.

In all, the day was fun, informative and a great success. Jean Morris, the SWWJ Chairman, and her team of organisers, are to be congratulated for a job well done.

Friday, 12 June 2009

Swanage Veterans' Weekend

Swanage hosted a jam-packed weekend recently, which saw the town welcome the Royal Corps of Signals and Veterans from war zones as diverse as WW2 and the Gulf Conflict.

On Saturday 30th May, the Royal Corps of Signals exercised their right to march through the town, having been granted the freedom of Swanage in 2005.

On Sunday 31st May, Veterans converged on the town to march through the streets. Members of the Royal British Legion Motorcycle Section joined them, as well as a bevy of vintage
military vehicles. Veterans Badges were also presented.

My husband, a Falklands Veteran, was amongst those marching and I was pleased to be there to document the weekend, not just for This England magazine, but also for the family album!

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Eastleigh 100

The Eastleigh Railway Works Centenary celebrations were well attended, with thousands turning out in the hot sunshine to marvel at the engines on display and to wallow in nostalgia. The event, sponsored by The Railway Magazine, showcased the Works and featured displays of steam and diesel engines, vintage cars and stands selling everything from models to books and all things in between.

I was there for The Railway Magazine, talking to visiting ladies. It is amazing, in a male dominated field of interest, just how many ladies turned up. They were involved, fascinated and eager to partake in all that the event offered. As you can see, in return for an interview with members of the Southampton Model Engineers, I had to take a ride on a steam train!

I spoke to Jane Bibey and her lads from the 56 Group, there to raise money to preserve another Class 56 engine, Angie Bowden and members of the Solent Model Railway Group, demonstrating how to put together intricate scenery items in 'O' and 'N' Gauge, and Joe Thorp, recent winner of The Natwest Everywoman in Transport and Logistics, Industry Trainer of the Year Award (left with me, see previous blog), who was there to enjoy the day.

My article for The Railway Magazine should be in the July edition.